2 Kings 23:17
Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) What title is this?What is yonder monument, or memorial stone? Ezekiel 39:15, “sign.” Jeremiah uses the same term of a sign-post (Jeremiah 31:21, “waymarks”). (See 1Kings 13:29 seq.)

2 Kings 23:17. He said, What title is that that I see? — It was the custom then, as it is now, to set up little pillars or stones by or upon the graves of the higher sort of men, upon which the names of the deceased persons, and some remarkable passages relating to them, were engraven. The king observing a stone or pillar of this kind more eminent than the rest, with an inscription upon it not legible, inquired whose title it was. And the men of the city told him — That is, some of the old inhabitants who had escaped the captivity; and not any of those new-comers, whom the king of Assyria had sent thither. For these could have given no account of the ancient history of the Israelites; neither can we suppose that the sepulchre itself, after so many years standing, could have been distinguishable, had not some pious person or other, with an intent to perpetuate the fact, taken care to preserve and repair it. See the note on 1 Kings 13:1.

23:15-24 Josiah's zeal extended to the cities of Israel within his reach. He carefully preserved the sepulchre of that man of God, who came from Judah to foretell the throwing down of Jeroboam's altar. When they had cleared the country of the old leaven of idolatry, then they applied themselves to the keeping of the feast. There was not holden such a passover in any of the foregoing reigns. The revival of a long-neglected ordinance, filled them with holy joy; and God recompensed their zeal in destroying idolatry with uncommon tokens of his presence and favour. We have reason to think that during the remainder of Josiah's reign, religion flourished.What title is that? - Rather, "What pillar is that?" The word in the original indicates a short stone pillar, which was set up either as a way-mark Jeremiah 31:21, or as a sepulchral monument Genesis 35:20; Ezekiel 39:15.17. What title is that that I see?—The king's attention probably, had been arrested by a tombstone more conspicuous than the rest around it, bearing on an inscription the name of him that lay beneath; and this prompted his curiosity to make the inquiry.

the men of the city—not the Assyrian colonists—for they could know nothing about the ancient transactions of the place—but some of the old people who had been allowed to remain, and perhaps the tomb itself might not then have been discoverable, through the effects of time and neglect, had not some "Old Mortality" garnished the sepulcher of the righteous.

What title is that that I see? It was the manner then, as now it is, to set up little pillars or stones by or upon the graves of the higher sort of men, upon which the name of the person, and some remarkable passages relating to him, were engraven.

Then he said, what title is that that I see?.... A high and large monument over a grave, with an inscription on it, more remarkable than any of the rest, which made Josiah take notice of it; and the Jews have a tradition, as Kimchi observes, that on one side of the grave grew nettles and thistles, and on the other side odoriferous herbs; which is not to be depended on; but what he further observes may be right, that the old prophet, as he gave orders to his sons to lay his body in the same grave with the man of God, believing his words would be fulfilled, so he likewise gave orders to have a distinguished monument or pillar erected over the grave; and which people in later times took care to support, in memory of the man of God, that thereby it might be known; by which means not only the bones of the man of God were preserved from being burnt, but those of the old prophet also, buried with him:

and the men of the city told him, it is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel; see 1 Kings 13:1.

Then he said, What title is that that I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. What title [R.V. monument] is that that [R.V. which] I see?] The word is used in Jeremiah 31:21 for ‘way marks’ to guide along a road, and in Ezekiel 39:15 for a ‘sign’ to mark a spot where lay some object needing notice. So that ‘monument’ appears the better rendering, especially as in the reply the people do not speak to Josiah of a ‘title’ but of a ‘sepulchre’.

the sepulchre of the man of God] The prophet of Bethel who had deceived him, brought the carcase of the dead man back to Bethel and buried it (1 Kings 13:29-31) in what must at that time have been a general burial-ground, and on which Jeroboam would never have built his altar.

Verse 17. - Then he said, What title is that that I see? rather, What pillar is that that I see? Josiah's eye caught sight of a "pillar" or obelisk (צִיון) among the tombs, or in their neighborhood, and he had the curiosity to ask what it was. And the men of the city told him, It is the sepulcher of the man of God, which earns from Judah (see 1 Kings 13:1). The "pillar" could not have been the actual "sepulcher," but was no doubt a monument connected with it. Many of the Phoenician excavated tombs are accompanied by monuments above ground, which are very conspicuous (see Renan's 'Mission de Phenicie,' pls. 11, et seq.). And proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel (see 1 Kings 13:2). According to the present text of Kings, Josiah was prophesied of by name, as the king who would defile the altar; but it is possible that the words, "Josiah by name" (יאשִׁיָהוּ שְׂמו), have crept in from the margin. 2 Kings 23:17In order to desecrate this idolatrous site for all time, Josiah had human bones taken out of the graves that were to be found upon the mountain, and burned upon the altar, whereby the prophecy uttered in the reign of Jeroboam by the prophet who came out of Judah concerning this idolatrous place of worship was fulfilled; but he spared the tomb of that prophet himself (cf. 1 Kings 13:26-32). The mountain upon which Josiah saw the graves was a mountain at Bethel, which was visible from the bamah destroyed. ציּוּן, a sepulchral monument, probably a stone erected upon the grave. וימלּטוּ: "so they rescued (from burning) his bones (the bones of the prophet who had come from Judah), together with the bones of the prophet who had come from Samaria," i.e., of the old prophet who sprang from the kingdom of the ten tribes and had come to Bethel (1 Kings 13:11). משּׁמרון בּא in antithesis to מיהוּדה ot sisehtit בּא denotes simply descent from the land of Samaria.

(Note: 2 Kings 23:16-18 are neither an interpolation of the editor, i.e., of the author of our books of Kings (Staehelin), nor an interpolation from a supplement to the account in 1 Kings 13:1-32 (Thenius). The correspondence between the וגם in 2 Kings 23:15 and the וגם in 2 Kings 23:18 does not require this assumption; and the pretended discrepancy, that after Josiah had already reduced the altar to ruins (2 Kings 23:15) he could not possibly defile it by burning human bones upon it (2 Kings 23:16), is removed by the very natural solution, that המזבח in 2 Kings 23:16 does not mean the altar itself, but the site of the altar that had been destroyed.)

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